What your response to WHY should be
14 September 2019

What your response to WHY should be

If one was to ask parents what the most common word in their growing child’s vocabulary was, the answer would probably be a resounding – ‘WHY’…and why would that be do you think?

It is because as humans, we like to know the reason behind things that happen or experiences we go through. We will always question whatever happens around us – it’s in our nature. The same goes for children…even more so.  As youngsters, their curiosity levels will definitely be quite high because they want to get a better understanding of the processes happening around them.  As they get older, the reasons for the questions will change slightly and will shift more towards wanting to better understand why you think something is important and why they should be of the same view.

What should be important to note here is that irrespective of their age, it's imperative that when setting out the rules and what is expected at home, they should be discussed with your child so he/she understands the need and relevance for such practice. This, in turn, will put it all into context for your child and eliminate the need for any further questioning – because it would all be clear.

 And yes, it can be appreciated that younger children perhaps won’t understand the lengthier version of any explanation/case you put before them with regards to why a certain practice has to be implemented, but a condensed and simplistic form should usually do the trick.

Sometimes, as parents, in a bid to be ‘over and done’ with the situation as quickly as we can, we end up complicating things further by not taking the time to explain things in a way that our child will understand, which only leads to more questions – and WHY?......because your child just wants to understand the situation but now has to understand the words used to explain the situation!

So when a young child asks "Why?" or "Why not?" when they are told they can't have a particular type of food or can’t go and see a friend etc. take the time to explain your position to them, to help them as this could help them to not only understand that situation but to possibly apply that logic in other similar situations.

I’m also not sure that responding with answers like …" because it makes me happy when you do what I have asked of you."  Is the right approach, especially with a youngster as they might grow up with that thought of having to please mum and dad whatever be the outcome, which might have its own set of consequences on both sides.

We also don’t want to add to our child’s confusion or frustration by responding with…"Because I said so," because there is no real helpful explanation there either.  

 As our children get older, we can become more explicit with our responses as well as our instructions. We should, however, be mindful, to be honest, and clear – “We discussed your coming back at 3 O’clock because we had a family outing planned around then and your coming back late would affect that. You also remember what we said about flouting the rules…” 

Don’t always take your child’s ‘counter-arguments’ as being rude or disrespectful, they are growing and this can manifest itself in the way they think and start to reason things out. This will be your job to help them shape these new skills. It is their way of getting to grips with the world around them. 

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